THE Government is to spend £6.5 million on a new drive to help Gulf War Veterans affected by horrific unexplained symptoms.

Armed Forces Minister John Reid today announced a 20 point programme to boost medical help for suffers and to investigate the cause.

The key element is a £2.5 million research programme into the possible health effect of a cocktail of drugs and vaccines given to protect troops against biological and chemical warfare.

There will be an investigation into the scientific basis for the drug cocktails - including any arguments against their use at the time - which will be published.

Doctor Reid promised that in future veterans would have to wait no longer than six weeks to see the specialist Gulf War medical team.

And he said that after careful consideration he had rejected a separate compensation scheme for veterans.

He felt the best system was to speed up the current use of the War pension Scheme which provides up to £107 per week tax free on top of normal service retirement pensions - which can have a capitalised value for the 35-year-veteran of more than £400,000.

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